On 15 March, provincial elections are held in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On the same day, elections for the Water Council (Waterschappen) also take place.

What are provincial elections?

Provincial elections are held every 4 years. In these elections, voters elect the members of the Provincial Council. To be able to vote, you must have Dutch citizenship and be at least 18 years old. You will need a green ballot paper (you will receive it at home by post by 1 March) and an ID document (passport, ID card, driving licence). A voter can vote even if his/her ID has expired, provided that no more than 5 years have passed since the expiry date on election day. Polling stations are open from 07.30 to 21.00. You will receive a list of polling stations in your town by post with your ballot paper.

What is the Provincial Council?

The elected members of the Provincial Council are representatives of the people of each province. Every four years, voters can vote for a candidate from a political party to represent them on the Provincial Council for the next four years. The number of seats on the Council depends on the number of people in each province. Provinces with fewer inhabitants have 39 seats on the Council, those with more inhabitants have 55 seats.

What are the tasks of the Provincial Council?

The members of the Provincial Council set the policies of the province and monitor whether the Provincial Executive Committee (Gedeputeerde Staten) is properly implementing the adopted policies.

It is the members of the Provincial Council who elect the members of the Provincial Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is made up of Members and has the King's Commissioner as its Chairman. A province can have a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 9 deputies.

The members of the Provincial Council also elect the members of the Senate. They do this together with the non-resident electoral college and the electoral colleges of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba. Elections to the Senate are held every 4 years. The next Senate elections will take place on 30 May 2023.

What are the Water Council elections?

We all know that the Kingdom of the Se Jos Lands lies largely below sea level. Good water management is therefore very important.

There are 21 water councils in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Elections to the Water Council take place every 4 years. Persons residing in the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, even if they do not hold Dutch nationality, are entitled to vote for members of the Water Council of the province in which they live. To be able to vote, they need a blue ballot paper (which is also sent by post to all those entitled to vote) and an identity document (passport, identity card, driving licence).

In the March 15 election, voters vote for the general leadership of the Water Board in the province of their domicile/residence. Some of the Water Board's duties include: managing dykes and sluices to protect the country from flooding, treating waste water, making sure there is enough water - for example by storing water during droughts and pumping water when it rains a lot - as well as making sure the water in ditches and rivers is clean and healthy for people, plants and animals.

A Water Council is governed by a General Council and an Executive Council. Both councils are chaired by a dike administrator (dijkgraaf). A water board consists of 18 to 30 members. Most of them are elected at elections. Part of the general council is for farmers' representatives and representatives of nature interests. They are not elected by elections, but have so-called guaranteed seats.

See you at the polls?

An article by Adriana Boancă and Magda Mincu.

Adriana describes herself as a well-established Romanian who has adapted to life in the rain and shine of the Netherlands. She works for Amsterdam and wants to share useful information with Romanians here through Rompro.

Magda has been living in the Netherlands since 2012 with her family. She is a translator by profession (predominantly from Dutch into Romanian) and has been part of the marketing team of the Rompro Foundation since early 2022. She chose to become a volunteer in the Foundation primarily out of a desire to socialize with other Romanians living in the Netherlands, but also to help with information and translations.

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